Weekend Thoughts - 5.28.16

   Image  by  sirmichael , courtesy of  Creative Commons  licensing.

Image by sirmichael, courtesy of Creative Commons licensing.

Happy Saturday y'all! Below, I have rounded up some things for you to think about this weekend:

1. Google is hard at work on a research project that is setting out to find an answer to the question—can computers can be truly creative? The project is called Magenta (a branch of the overall Google Brain Team), and it is an attempt to find out if artificial intelligence systems can be taught to create original music, art, or video. Although it's a bit away yet, the real test will be if AI will be able to create art that humans will find enjoyable. One application for computer-generated music would be a system that takes a person's heartbeat and generates music that fits the situation. So for example, a system could produce fast-tempo upbeat music for exercise, and slow ambient sounds when it is time to decompress after work or go to sleep. To me, this begs the question—if, in the future, artificial intelligence is able to accomplish much of the work currently done by humans as well as provide enjoyable entertainment, what will become of us?

2. Beijing has developed an innovative solution to tackle its legendary traffic jams—an elevated bus that drives above other vehicles on the road. Watching it is fairly awesome, to say the least. If this form of public transportation is implemented across China (not to mention other countries), it would potentially alleviate congestion and reduce pollution in the world's most populous country. Implementing this form of transportation in the United States would be another story, because it would require uniform street width, vehicle size limitations, and the discipline for drivers to stay in their lanes at all times. However, it's worth checking out. I mean, just look at it!  

That's all for this week's edition of Weekend Thoughts. Until next week, keep thinking wilder.